Defense attorney David Hall called Pam Wyngarden back to the stand on the ninth day of the trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven to ask her more questions about interviews she had with detectives when she first said that Ryan Wyngarden killed Gail and Rick Brink in their home on Ransom Street.
Pam Wyngarden’s report to detectives on Jan. 18, 2013, of her husband’s confession triggered his arrest three days later.
Ryan Wyngarden, 52, of Zeeland, faces two charges of first degree premeditated murder. If found guilty, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
The prosecution says Wyngarden killed his sister and her husband out of jealously and to cover up an incestuous relationship when they were teens.
The defense has said the couple could have been killed in a case of mistaken identity because the previous owner of the house Sid Colby, known as “Shotgun Sid,” dealt drugs brought from Detroit.
The trial broke for lunch and resumed this afternoon.
Pam Wyngarden was escorted out of the courtroom in tears by a detective. Hall had been questioning her for about 90 minutes and asked just before the break why she married Ryan even though he confessed to the killings.
In the January interview, she said she did so because the children needed a “father figure.”
Despite the confession to the murders, Hall asked, “you still married him?”
“Yes,” she said, crying.
This morning, Hall pointed out that Pam Wyngarden first denied during a Jan. 18, 2013, interview that her husband killed Gail and Rick, but later that day changed the story.
“Were you under pressure at that time?” Hall asked about the January 2013 interview.
“I wasn’t ready,” Pam Wyngarden said, who said in earlier testimony that she did not tell police about the confession because she wasn’t ready to tell them.
“Were you under pressure from them?” Hall repeated this morning.
“No,” Pam Wyngarden said.
Hall said a detective used the word “lured” in that interview, saying Rick Brink was “lured” into his truck.
Pam Wyngarden, who hadn’t used the term before in the interview, Hall said, then used the word “lured.”
In opening statements on March 11, Hall said Pam Wyngarden was swayed by “suggestive” police questioning that placed ideas in her mind.
Hall also pointed out possible contradictions in the timeline of when Pam Wyngarden said Ryan told her about the killings, including the statement Pam Wyngarden made that Gail was shot first then Rick was killed.
Other testimony said Rick was killed first outside in his truck then Gail was killed. Both were shot in the head.
Pam and Ryan were girlfriend and boyfriend in 1987 and married in 1989 and had three children. Pam also had a child from a previous relationship. The couple is still married. Neither has filed for divorce.
In earlier testimony this morning, a fellow inmate with Ryan Wyngarden in the Ottawa County Jail testified Wyngarden never confessed to him about the murders. Roger Enz said an inmate who earlier testified Wyngarden confessed was looking to get time taken off his sentence.
— By Jim Hayden, The Holland Sentinel